Mark Williams MP demands 100% broadband access
MP for Ceredigion Mark Williams is set to call on the UK and Welsh governments to start working towards achieving universal broadband access.
The Liberal Democrat politician will be speaking at the party's annual conference in Birmingham today (September 19th 2011) and will urge ministers to work with local councils, business leaders and community groups to extend broadband connectivity to rural areas, reports the Western Mail.
Mr Williams described the £530 million set aside by the Conservative-led coalition from the BBC licence fee to fund broadband deployments as a "welcome financial commitment" towards the technology.
Access to fast internet services is "essential" for residents and businesses in remote parts of the country, he stated.
"Realistically more investment will be needed to make comprehensive coverage a reality, but it is crucial that all parties come together to find the best solutions for the provision of broadband in rural areas, whether that is through small-scale community schemes or larger infrastructure projects," Mr Williams added.
His call comes in the wake of the UK government's decision to award Wales £56.9 million of public money to spend on broadband deployments. It is expected that if the Welsh Assembly matches this investment, it will be able to extend broadband to everyone in the country, with super-fast speeds for 90 per cent of homes and businesses.
It has been left up to the Welsh Assembly to decide how the money should be spent.
Commenting on the news, Welsh Secretary Cheryl Gillan said the allocation is evidence of the coalition's commitment to providing Wales with the infrastructure it needs to ensure economic growth - an issue she described as her "number one priority".
Ms Gillan stressed the UK government will continue to work closely with Wales on the delivery of next-generation access, adding the announcement "will ensure broadband take-up and speed can be significantly improved, benefitting individuals and businesses".